When it comes to public policy, it’s important to remember that the decisions made by elected officials have real life consequences for the people they represent. This is something I intend to keep in mind as I campaign for Clackamas County Commissioner.
Ample examples of poor public policy choices can be found not too far from most parts of Clackamas County.
The City of Portland has almost become a poster child of what not to do if you want a functional form of government that is responsive to citizen needs and provides services in an efficient way.
During the summer of 2020, riots erupted and continued for 100 consecutive days in the city’s downtown area. Countless windows were broken and numerous fires were set. Graffiti started springing up all over the place. Yet it was all allowed to continue, because police officers were prevented from enforcing the law for political reasons.
City commissioners made the deliberate decision to defund the police. It was also decided that the gang violence task force should be disbanded.
The consequences of those decisions are now abundantly clear on a daily basis.
Car thefts in the city are now constant and few of those crimes are ever solved or prosecuted. Many businesses throughout downtown Portland are still boarded up, even though the riots took place almost two years ago.
Shootings are now a regular occurrence. Portland had 19 fatal shootings before the month of February was even over. Not more than a few of those incidents are gang related. Much of the graffiti that’s now all over the city is due to gangs marking their territory.
Efforts have subsequently been made to re-fund the police department. But because of public statements made by some Portland city commissioners, that city is having a hard time finding any applicants for those police positions. Making it even worse is that many officers have retired at the first available opportunity, resigned or accepted jobs in other cities that are more supportive of their police personnel. In other words, it’s too little, too late.
Portland’s downward spiral hits very close to home here in Clackamas County, because of our close physical proximity to the city. That doesn’t mean, however, that we have to adopt the same failed policies that helped create the current situation there.
The direction of the county government is set by the board of county commissioners, much in the same way that the City of Portland’s fate is determined by its elected board of city commissioners. As a member of the board of commissioners, my vote could be instrumental in making up the majority needed to pass policies.
I will carefully consider the results of those votes once elected to Clackamas County Commissioner Position 2. Anything that would or could undermine the quality of life for our residents will not receive my vote or support.
Fortunately, we can learn from the mistakes that the City of Portland and others have made, and don’t have to repeat them.
*If you’d like to find out more about or support the Mark Johnson for Clackamas County Commission campaign, please check out our website at https://markjohnson22.com/